Major retailers accused of price exploitation during lockdown
Over the past 4 to 5 weeks of the lockdown period, the Namibia Competition Commission has received numerous complaints from the public of significant increases in prices of various products from retailers, in the wake of the prevailing COVID-19 pandemic.
The retailers accused of hiking prices are Spar Supermarkets, OK Foods Stores, pharmacies including Dischem, Pick n Pay, Clicks, Shoprite-Checkers and Woermann Brock with most complaints originating from the Khomas region, followed by Kharas region, Oshana region, Erongo and Zambezi regions., the commission said.
According to the commission, close to 40% of the complaints relate to price increases for food and basic consumer items such as fruits and vegetables, rice, maize meal, baby formula, dairy products, etc, whilst 25% of the complaints relate to transport, construction, accommodation, furniture, household appliances and motor vehicle parts. About 13% of the complaints are in respect of health and hygiene products such as immune boosters, hand sanitizers and face masks while 24% of the complaints relate to products or services which were not specified by the complainants.
In this regard, the Commission said it is currently assessing the veracity of the allegations contained in the complaints and is further gathering additional information in respect of all complaints.
“The Commission will in due time make a decision to proceed with formal investigations against those implicated with due regard to the procedure set out in the Competition Act and the envisaged price directives,” the Commission said in statement issued this week.
However, at this stage no formal investigations have been initiated against any of the accused retailers, they concluded.
Caption: Retailers accused of hiking prices by percentage. (Graph: Namibia Competition Commission)